Saint or Sinner?

Many believers, if they are asked, “Are you a saint or sinner?” will respond with ‘sinner.’ This answer reveals they do not fully understand the purpose of Yeshua’s sacrifice and deliverance.  If you are a believer in Yeshua, you must understand your identity to reach your full potential God has for you in this life.

Sinner

“Everyone who sins breaks the law (God’s commands); in fact sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).

The apostle John defines sin as breaking God’s commandments; therefore a sinner is a person who consistently breaks God’s commands by doing what they think is right and wrong. In essence a sinner is a disobedient person who lives their lives completely in lawlessness.

“For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners … (Romans 5:19).

Disobedience is common to all humanity. It began in the Garden of Eden when Adam chose to disobey God’s one command and eat of the fruit in the center of the garden. His disobedience birthed sin into the hearts of all of his offspring until this very day.

“The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning… (1 John 3:8).

A sinner has not come to terms with the existence of God or accepts that there is a standard or plumb line set up for right and wrong by the Creator of the Universe. They make their own rules even if their choices cause them to perish.

“But rebels and sinners will both be broken and those who forsake Adonai will perish” (Isaiah 1:28).

Sinners have not been set free from their empty way of life. They have no future, no hope in this world.  They are rebellious, disobedient, lawless and reject any way of living rightly before God. They will even mock God and His ways before submitting to commands that may actually benefit their hearts, minds and souls.

“But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked” (Psalm 37:38).

Wickedness in the Bible is defined as lawless as well as sinful. Sinners have stubborn hearts and turn away from their Creator and willfully choose a life of lawlessness often mocking the idea of sin and separation from God.  Thus, those who are sinful and wicked have no desire to repent and turn back to God because they wholeheartedly embrace activities that embody lawlessness.

“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).

It is possible for a believer to harden their heart toward God and His commandments turning away from Him. The modern-day teaching of lawlessness in the church has left many who believe they are redeemed standing in the muck of ungodliness, abominations and sin. It is wise to remember that anyone who teaches against the laws of God is really of the lawless one, the anti-messiah, the ole devil himself.

Repentance

In order to leave a life of sin, a person must repent. ‘Repent’ in Hebrew is teshuvah and means ‘to make a 180-degree turn. It is the vision of someone making a U-turn in order to return to where they came from. The prophets cried out for Israel to repent. John immersed people in the Jordan River for repentance of sins. Yeshua, when he came down the mountain from the wilderness preached a message of repentance and a return to God. Even the apostles after the resurrection preached a message of repentance in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

“From that time on, Yeshua began proclaiming, “Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!” (Matthew 4:17).

The greatest part about repentance is that all previous sin is forgiven; all future sin just needs to be confessed and then it is forgiven. Sinners do not remain sinners, but with a change of direction, a change of heart, they become saints.

“Therefore, repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be erased” (Acts 3:19).

A sinner who repents is changed from the inside out. They become a new creation in Messiah, are reconciled to the Father and begin a new walk of life. Their old life passes away and dies; a new life of love, joy and peace becomes their reality  (2 Corinthians 5:17).  This new life should be very different from the old because the darkness and ignorance of sin has been removed.  Drugs, alcohol and sexual immorality will suddenly become uncomfortable.  Anger, jealousy, and coveting become a spiritual burden to the soul.  As an individual’s  spiritual eyes are opened to the difference between the ways of the world and the ways of the Creator, they begin to see the world in which they live is in conflict with the Spirit of God that has come to be their guide and counselor.

Saint

“For if, while we were God’s enemies (sinners), we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!’ (Romans 5:10).

As the Spirit of God moves and works in the new life, there will be conviction when there is sin present and a desire to be cleansed from that sin.   Each time we turn from sin,  we are transformed more profoundly into the image of Yeshua.  As we learn to obey God and see what pleases our heavenly Father, a desire remove those things that do not please Him will become part of our walk of faith.  This is called the process of sanctification and those who are in living out this process are called saints.

“Saint” comes from the Greek word ‘sanctify’ and is the same word as ‘holy’ or hagios.  According to the dictionary, the word ‘holy’ means ‘set apart to the service of God’.  To be ‘holy to God’ means that as a new creation in Messiah, one becomes set apart for the purpose of serving and obeying God. One who is being sanctified no  longer lives for their carnal, sinful, lawless desires.

Some people believe that saints are dead people who lived their lives with great faith.   This misconstrued concept comes from the catholic church and doesn’t have merit in the Scriptures.  Read the following verses and decide for yourself if a saint is dead or alive.

“As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16:3).

“O fear the LORD, you His saints; for those who fear Him there is no want” (Psalm 34:9).

“Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One;  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom and all the dominions will serve and obey Him” (Daniel 7:27).

“Through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among the gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you are the called of Messiah Yeshua; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Messiah Yeshua” (Romans 1:5-7).

“All the saints greet you” (2 Corinthians 13:13).

“Greet all of your leaders and all the saints …” (Hebrews 13:24).

“Paul, an apostle of Messiah Yeshua by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Messiah Yeshua …” (Ephesians 1:1).

“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Messiah Yeshua, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Messiah Yeshua …” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Messiah Yeshua, to all the saints in Messiah Yeshua who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons … “ (Philippians 1:1).

“To the saints and faithful brothers in Messiah who are at Colossae …” (Colossians 1:2).

“And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, when up before God out of the angel’s hand” (Revelation 8:4).

“The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:52-53).

Saints are majestic.  They fear God and greet one another.  They are loved by God, faithful to God, pray to God and are quite capable of reading letters sent to them from Sha’ul.  Saints are most definitely not dead, but living, breathing human beings.  They begin their redeemed lives as saints, live out their earthly lives as saints,  remain saints even after they ‘fall asleep,’ and will be resurrected as saints.

“No one who has God as his Father keeps on sinning, because the seed [Holy Spirit] planted by God remains in him. That is, he cannot continue sinning, because he has God as his Father” (1 John 3:9).

Some people believe they are not good enough to be saints.  This means they do not understand the power of the Holy Spirit to transform their heart and souls.   They spend their days always seeking forgiveness from the power of sin rather than living victorious lives over the ‘death of sin.’  In Messiah, we are set free from sin and should not keep on sinning (1 John 3:6,9). Read 1 John again. With the Holy Spirit planted by God in us, we cannot continue sinning! How often have you heard that message taught?

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags …” (Isaiah 64:6).

This verse is usually quoted by well-meaning people to support the ‘sinner’ identity.  Though this verse is true, it was not written for saints.  When read in context,  it is about Israel and Jerusalem, not individual people who have been redeemed by the blood of Messiah.  However, if one wants to use it for their personal identity, the rest of the verse says, “we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

Sins sweeping us away should never have place in a life that has been redeemed. Being swept away by sin is the futility of a lawless, wicked sinner.   Our sins should not be ‘sweeping us away’ if we are a new creation.  This is not the description of a saint who is being sanctified by the very Spirit of God that raised Yeshua from the dead.  This is not the identity of a saint who has been given a new heart, mind and soul to be set apart or holy to the LORD.

Righteousness

“Offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness….  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness….  Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness” (Romans 6:13, 18-19).

Yeshua’s standard of righteousness is now our standard for life. The ‘works’ of a redeemed man are not filthy the rags of a sinner trying to hide their sin with deceptive fig leaves.  Sanctifying works lead us onto the path of righteousness and bring glory to our heavenly Father.   We are no longer slaves to impurity and increasing wickedness, but become ‘slaves’ to a righteous way of living that leads to holiness which, according to Yeshua, comes through the Word of Truth (John 17:17).

“Set them apart for holiness by means of the truth — your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Even as saints we do fall short of God’s glory and sin.  When we ‘miss the mark, we are not lost for all eternity nor do not have to repent from a wicked way of life.   Our only responsibility to to confess the sin of which we have been convicted by the Spirit of God. It is God who is faithful to cleanse us and purify us from unrighteousness and restore us to righteousness again.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Our identity as saints is foundational to our lifestyle as believers.  As saints,  we receive spiritual blessings and live in God’s household.  As saints, we receive the revelation of mysteries from past ages and generations.   As saints, we will return with our Commander Yeshua.  As saints, we will judge the world as priests with our King Messiah.  As saints we will have a special place next to the Bridegroom at the wedding feast in the Kingdom.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Messiah Yeshua, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Messiah.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy (sanctified) and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:3-4).

“Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” (1 Corinthians 6:2).

“So that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make know what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles …” (Colossians 1:26-27).

“May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy (sanctified) in the presence of our god and Father when our Lord Yeshua comes with all his holy ones (sanctified ones)” (1 Thessalonians 3:13).

“Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them ‘See the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones (sanctified ones)” (Jude 1:14).

These Scriptures are only a glimpse of what is promised to the saints of God.  If you have been born again into the Kingdom of God and washed in the blood of the Lamb, you are a saint – sanctified, holy and set apart to bring glory to Elohim.  Embracing the lifestyle of a saint and the sanctifying work of the Word of God makes us more holy, more  separated to Him.

Again, the question. Are you a saint or a sinner?

©2012 Tentstake Ministries

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